The 2017 Orchid Festival at Kew Gardens,4 February – 5 March 2017
A taste of the stunning and colourful celebration of India’s vibrant plants and culture.
Cartier Bresson,Eve Arnold,Robert Capa,Robert Frank and Vivian Maier to name but a few, have all been associated with its name and the body of work created with this photographic tool has spanned over many decades.
In an era where photographic quality and longevity seem to be taking a back seat, in a world obsessed with the quick fix and inherent obsolescence and yearly upgrades, it seems the ubiquitous smartphone has dominated the requirements of the masses.Even internet service providers are struggling to cater for the deluge of every day images flooding the internet and it is allegedly rapidly running out of capacity in its current form.
Interestingly there appears to be a rekindling of interest by many in the younger generation that have read and learned about the photographic legends of the golden era of photojournalism and are kicking back against the digital world that cocoons them.Many are seeking to learn more about the old techniques of dark room printing and the power and minimalism of black and white photography.
Film appears to be making a come back and even the film industry is turning away from the current vogue to use video and returning to celluloid in a bid to recapture that classic 35mm look.Such is rumoured to be the case in that of the new Star Wars Film currently being filmed at Pinewood Studios in the UK.
The legendary Kodak film Tri-X, famous for use by such photographers as David Bailey,Don McCullin,Anton Corbijn and Sebastiao Salgado,is also gathering resurgence of interest,especially for those seeking that natural film grain and rich blacks and whites that add character and depth to an image,a complete contrast to the digital, rather clinical, grain free effects of todays digital offerings.
Indeed a close friend who had a fridge load of date expired film has found that it was purchased enthusiastically on ebay by fans of Lomography who love the psychedelic effects of the film in their Holga and Lomo cameras who cannot get enough of it.
Many are now stepping off the digital merry go round and seeking out classic film cameras to shoot their important pictures and memories, after all its easy to scan a negative for internet purposes and you can keep a negative for archive purposes for hundreds of years, but when your hard drive dies or becomes obsolete thats a big problem,who can remember zip disks?
Over the decades I have used many cameras,but one that I have a special fondness for is the Leica M6 with a 35mm F2 Summicron IV pre aspherical.
This lens has become known as the “King of Bokeh” among rangefinder aficionados.
A true jewel of a lens,this optic is possessed of a unique set of characteristics that almost give the lens a life of its own.
When shot wide open this lens gives an extraordinary creamy bokeh(Japanese Bo-ke),a term coined by the japanese to describe the out of focus or blurry background effect when a wide aperture is selected.It also gives a wonderful glow in the specular highlights and a full range of tones that really jump out of the picture giving an almost 3D quality frequently described as the Leica glow.It is almost as if the lens maker has dropped a tiny pipet of bottled nostalgia onto the front lens coating and all images suddenly seem in some way like a captured frame from a dream sequence.
Mechanically the optic really is a dream.It has beautiful click stops,silky smooth focus and a full array of depth of field settings,enabling a photographer to take full advantage of setting hyper focal distance and pre-setting the camera for street photography.
I also like the 90mm Elmarit f2.8 which is ideal when you need that extra little bit of reach or a tight portrait and the gorgeous Elmar 50mm f2.8 is a cracking pop out pancake lens in the old tradition and style for keeping in a discrete pocket.
In modern times the Leica M6 body may not seem the most ergonomically designed of film cameras and the loading procedure can be a little bit more time consuming than opening the back door of a typical 35mm film SLR, however in my opinion this is not what rangefinder photography is about.If you require a camera to rattle off 12fps and send the images directly online via a wifi connection to your laptop then you are looking in the wrong place.However if you are the kind of person for whom the internet is a mere after thought and you want a small discrete camera that can be hand held to stunningly low shutter speeds and which is whisper silent and doesn’t draw attention,and if you enjoy doing your own black and white prints or thrill when you get back your prints from a lab,then this could be for you.
The Leica rangefinder is for people who prefer to smell the roses and enjoy life at a more laid back pace while taking the scenic route.It is for those who may relish the pleasure of sitting in a cafe watching the world go by while enjoying the pleasure of winding on the gears of a classic precision photographic instrument,almost like a swiss watch,that instills you with confidence in its design and the quality of its build and optics.The enjoyment of following a classic ritual from an age of elegance that makes you feel that taking pictures with it should be more thoughtful and considered.
In essence,shooting a Leica rangefinder eventually becomes an almost Zen like experience as one can see all the action prior to the subject entering the frame,preset the focus using hyper focal distance and use experienced judgement to set the light levels.Combining all these elements successfully creates an almost instantaneous extension of your mind and eye and culminates in a single understated whisper quiet click!
They are such mechanical wonders that they do not even require batteries.In my opinion thats quite something in this modern age.
It takes practice and discipline to master this technique of course,but the reward is there for those patient enough.
Indeed Leica cameras and their lenses are not cheap and seeking out the classic lenses is a costly affair.However of all the cameras on the market they are clearly an investment and you will almost certainly find that the camera or lens you buy either holds its value or becomes more valuable as the years pass by,the problem is that you probably will not want to sell it anyway as it becomes very much a part of your life.
There is also something pleasing knowing that in all likelihood that rangefinder will still be shooting when those digital wonders are are long gone into the annals of upgrade history or are relegated to the status of expensive paperweights.Indeed a battered and bronzed Leica with years of usage,has a certain beauty and appeal to it that is quite frankly priceless.
A sensational bank holiday weekend at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey watching the fantastic Wings and Wheels event, an absolute gem in the air show calendar,celebrating its 10th Anniversary. Wings and Wheels combines fast cars with stunning flying demonstrations. There was a fantastic range of aircraft and cars on show as well as World War II re-enactment societies and displays. There was a awesome display by the Breitling Wing Walker “amazons” who at times, were showing steely eyed skill as they held on without harnesses and inches from those deadly propellors and amazed the crowds.At one point they almost touched hands while flying inverted,remarkable!
Iron Maiden rock star Bruce Dickinson made a surprise appearance and hopped into a World War 1 Fokker Triplane and duelled his Great War adversaries around the airfield in a simulation of a world war I air battle. Also present were the famous last two remaining Lancaster Bombers,one from Canada,bringing a nostalgic tear to many eyes as they flew with a battle of Britain fighter escort. There were also many cars speeding around the race track including a Ford GT40 a variety of classics and supercars and a selection of motorbikes,some with side cars,tearing around the track famous for its role in the Top Gear TV Series.
A short video clip of an Apache Gunship and the British and Canadian Lancaster Flypast shot on a Lumix LX7 compact camera:
More images from Dunsfold can be viewed here:http://…/p763200112 Copyright Kerry Davies/All rights reserved.
The engines glowed red and the ground shuddered as the engines fired up launching the Boeing F/A-18 Hornet tearing up the runway and sending a rippling through my chest.The cool air that followed a rainy morning at Farnborough was suddenly turned warm and the smell of aviation fuel wafted through the atmosphere.
There was the air rippling growl and thunder clap of the last airworthy Vulcan Bomber tearing up the heavens with its ginormous wings.
The death defying stunts of the Breitling Wing Walkers Team and the stunning gravity defying VTOL manoeuvres of a Harrier/Matador from the Spanish Navy,bowing its nose like a bull fighter in the ring, to the applause of the awestruck aviation buffs that gathered in a small crowd at the airfield gates to get a preview of what the week to come had in store.
I was observing the buildup of aircraft both civilian and military from all over the world as they were getting in their practice sessions for the 2014 Farnborough Air Show,one of the largest events of its kind in the world which takes place on July 14th to 20th 2014. One of the most important events in the aviation calendar it is an important opportunity for industry to show off the latest designs and also a great week for aircraft aficionados to admire some of the vintage models also on show. This year looks set to see the appearance of the latest F-35 lightning II VTOL fighter and a number of new additions to the Boeing stable,including the P-8A Poseidon and a new Dreamliner 787-9.
Heres a taster of what I saw.
More images can be viewed at this link:http://…/p998861920
Copyright Kerry Davies/All Rights Reserved.
And just to get you in the spirit,a bit of a classic….!!
A glorious Sunday afternoon day spent in the shadow of the spectacular Windsor Castle watching the Royal Windsor Horse show and photographing the finest of the worlds equine talent in action while munching on strawberries and cream and slapping on the factor 30 as the sun blazed down relentlessly!
More Images here:http://www.surreypix.co.uk/p374146395
Images shot on a Nikon D700 with a 300mm f2.8 afd
Images copyright Kerry Davies/all rights reserved Strictly no unauthorised use or reproduction.
A rainy day anywhere in London is not generally something to write home about and when its blowing a howling storm its even less appealing.However this week a stroll in Richmond Park in West London armed with just a Panasonic SD700 camcorder,on a foray into time-lapse videography, proved quite a treat when I found myself perched under a tree as a heavy downpour accompanied by a howling wind and menacing clouds rolled across the area. Much to my surprise as the rain eased off for a few moments, a glorious rainbow spread across the sky forming in effect a double rainbow.Soon another deluge rolled in and yet another multicoloured manifestation spread across the sky followed by yet another deluge.In total in a matter of one hour I counted three rainbows before the dusk drew in.Not bad for an afternoon stroll but unfortunately I have yet to stumble across a pot of gold!Copyright Kerry Davies/All rights reserved.
“Your Punch And Judy Need You!” proclaimed the stick wielding angry looking Mr Punch illustration attached to the wall of the metal fence of the St Pauls Church in Covent Garden in Central London on May the 11th 2014.
Wandering into to the rear courtyard of the church otherwise known as “The actors church”, I was struck by wall to wall arrangements of multicoloured very striking lines of Punch and Judy tents that screamed of historic beach nostalgia from Britains glory days of old.
“Oh no it isn’t!!, Oh yes it is !!” Echoed around the courtyard and the distinct yell of “Sausages!”,and the clack of wood against wood as Mr Punch received another clobbering from his ever suffering wife and the screech of a Police whistle as Mr Punch was eternally pursued for batting his baby into the stratosphere in a most politically incorrect manner.
I even spotted a pearly King and Queen and of all things a psychedelic pink Policeman and a brass band thrown into the mix for good measure!
The annual Covent Garden May Fayre and Puppet Festival is an event that celebrates the red nosed stick wielding puppet and brings together dozens of puppeteers in a gathering of great entertainment value and nostalgia.
On the wall of the Church an engraving stands prominently in honour to Mr Punch.Covent Garden is in fact the birth place of the troublesome,anarchic chap who was first sighted by Samuel Pepys on May 9th 1662 near this site and the last sunday nearest this date has essentially become his birthday.
So enjoy your sausages Mr Punch but look out for the crocodile,happy birthday!
All images and video shot with a Lumix Lx7.Puppeteer Professor Clive Chandler
Images Copyright Kerry Davies/No unauthorised reproduction/All rights reserved.
As the clock ticked over and the Sun rose over Great Britain on May 5th 2014, blowing away the cobwebs of winter, I revisited the Jack in the Green Festival on the south coast of England most famous for being the gateway for the Norman invasion in 1066.
It was a fantastic warm spring day of Morris Dancers and mayhem and quite a sight for the senses.It was held in a field next to Hastings castle and overlooked the splendid sight of the main town in all its glory.At its centre was a stage where performances of various kinds ranging from Morris dancing to belly dancing entertained the masses that descended upon the seaside town.
It starts with a procession around the town and culminates with the symbolic slaying of the Jack of the Green which symbolically frees the spirit and welcomes the transition of the Winter into the Summer.The tradition has many roots and I have another article on the subject earlier in this blog.
Needless to say,this festival never disappoints and is one of the best Green Man festivals in the UK and well worth a visit.
Here are a few shots shot on a Nikon D700 with a 17-35mm f2.8.
Images Copyright Kerry davies/No unauthorised usage .